01.002 Fighter Squadron "Storks"

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Hunter Squadron 1/2 Cigognes
Escadron de Chasse 1/2 Cigognes
Ec-1-2.jpg
Insignia of the Escadron
Active November 1945 - present
Country France France
Branch French-roundel.svg French Air Force
Type Chasse Fr
Hunter Eng
Role Aerial Defense
Part of 2e Escadre de Chasse
composed of 3 Escadrille :
SPA 3
SPA 26
SPA 103
Garrison/HQ Luxeuil Air Base
Equipment Dassault Mirage 2000-5F
Website Official Website (in French)

The Escadron de Chasse or Hunter[1] Squadron 1/2 Cigognes[2] or EC 1/2 Cigognes (French: Escadron de Chasse 1/2 Cigognes) is a French Air Force fighter[3] squadron currently stationed at Luxeuil Air Base (ICAO: LFSX).[4]

It inherits the traditions of three notable World War I units: SPA 3 of the famous ace Georges Guynemer, SPA26, SPA 103 of René Fonck, and SPA 12.[5]

History[edit]

A Mystère IVA of the 1/2 appears on this chasseurs (hunters) photo of NATO taken on the Base of Bitburg in 1959.
Mirage IIIC of the 1/2 Cigognes.
Mirages IIIE of the squadron (escadron) in 1978.
Mirage 2000 "Escadron/Squadron Cigognes".
Mirage 2000-5F of the 1/2 seen during exercise Red Flag at Nellis AFB.

Heir to the Cigogne Escadrille (French: escadrille des Cigognes), EC 1/2 Cigogne was created on November 1945, by retaking the traditions of the 329th Squadron of the Royal Air Force, which the latter was constituted by pilots of the Hunter Group - Groupe de Chasse 1/2 Cigognes after the armistice of 1940. The latter was deployed to French Indochina, and combat engaged on Supermarine Spitfire, with Escadrille SPA 3 stationed in Saigon and the SPA 103 stationed in Hanoi. Upon return to metropolis, the latter was transformed on the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt in 1948.

In 1949, the EC 1/2 Cigognes garrisoned on Aerial Base 102 Dijon-Longvic (French: base aérienne 102 Dijon-Longvic), and passed on the occasion to a Jet aircraft (French: avion à reaction) : de Havilland Vampire, MD 450 Ouragan, and Dassault Mystère IVA. It was on this equipment that the squadron was engaged during the Suez Crisis in 1956. A couple of years later, the squadron became the first unit of the French Air Force to operate the Mirage IIIC, aircraft replaced in 1968 by Mirage IIIE.

In 1948, the EC 1/2 Cigognes passed over to the Mirage 2000C. On September 9 1994, the squadron received a third escadrille, Escadrille SPA 12 (French: SPA 12), which was dissolved on September 3 2009 and replaced by SPA 26 ( the traditional escadrille of Escadron de Chasse 1/5 Vendée (French: escadron de chasse 1/5 Vendée) dissolved in 2007). These aircraft were setup on the level of Mirage 2000-5F as of 1997.

On Friday 29 July 2011, the squadron move towards Aerial Base 116 Luxeuil-Saint Sauveur (Aerial Base 116 "Lieutenant-colonel Pain" de Luxeuil-Saint-Sauveur (French: base aérienne 116 Lieutenant-colonel Papin de Luxeuil-Saint-Sauveur). This put an end to the presence of Cigognes on Aerial Base 102 Dijon-Longvic.

Designations and successive denominations[edit]

The Squadron/Escadron "Cigognes" has known during the course of history, the following successive denominations:

Hunter Group I/2 - Groupe de Chasse I/2[edit]

  • Groupe de Chasse I/2 (G.C I/2) with escadrille SPA 3 and SPA 103 from September 1 1933 until August 20 1940 attached to the 2e Escadre de Chasse between September 1 1933 and May 1 1939.
  • Groupe de Chasse I/2 with only one escadrille SPA 3 from July 1 1941 until January 1 1944

Squadron 329[edit]

  • Squadron 329 was attached to the Royal Air Force between January 1 1944 and November 1 1945.

Groupe de chasse I/2 Cigognes[edit]

  • Groupe de Chasse I/2 Cigognes (G.C I/2 Cigognes) with escadrille SPA 3 from November 1 1945 until April 1 1946 attached to the 2e Escadre de Chasse.

Escadron de Chasse 1/2 Cigognes[edit]

  • Escadron de Chasse 1/2 Cigognes (E.C 1/2 Cigognes) with Escadrilles SPA 3, SPA 103 from April 1 1950 until September 9 1994 integrated in the 2e Escadre de Chasse.
  • Escadron de Chasse 1/2 Cigognes (E.C 1/2 Cigognes) with Escadrille SPA 3, SPA 103 and SPA 12 from September 9 1994 until September 3 2009.
  • Escadron de Chasse 1/2 Cigognes (E.C 1/2 Cigognes) with Escadrille SPA 3, SPA 103 and SPA 26 as of September 3 2009. The Escadron/Squadron was attached again to the 2e Escadre de Chasse on September 3 2015.

Historic heir (prior 1945) : before and during World War I[edit]

Following a decision taken by the French Army General Council,[6] in June 1912, the first flights of the French air arm were formed. One of these was established at the army camp of Avord, in Cher. Its designation, B.L. 3, arose from the aircraft type with which it was equipped, the Blériot XI. Once established, the flight moved eastward, towards Alsace. The sight of this 'migration' led to comparison with the storks which are harbingers spring in Alsace. So the name 'Cigogne' came to be associated in people's minds with B.L. 3.[7] Alsace had been part of France until 1871 but in 1912 was part of Germany. The association therefore touched French pride.

It was not until 1916, under the pressure of the Great War in which aircraft numbers grew rapidly, that the association between the emblem and the unit became official. So that aircrews should be able to recognise other members of their own flight, in order to regroup after dispersal during fighting, the command of the Somme Combat Group, of which flight.3 was then a part, ordered that clear symbols be painted on aircraft. By this time, the flights had been grouped into squadrons. The squadron's commanding officer, Commandant Felix Brocard, chose to make reference to the Alsatian storks by using a white stork with lowered wings as the emblem on the Nieuports of no. 3 flight. He then ordered the other flights of the squadron to choose emblems using storks in other postures.[7] The modern emblem of the squadron bears three storks at three points in the wing-beat cycle. They represent respectively Flight 3 (wings low), Flight 103 (wings high) and Flight 12 (wings spread).[8]

See also Escadrille 3, Escadrille 26, Escadrille 103, Escadrille 12

World War II[edit]

Having distinguished itself during the Battle of France in 1940, the squadron was disbanded in August. However, it was re-formed in July 1941 and equipped with Dewoitine D.520s. In 1942, it was sent to North Africa where it took its opportunity, with other units, to join the Free French Forces and was shipped to Ayr, in Scotland. There it was designated as No. 329 Squadron RAF. On 6 June 1944, it took part in the D Day Landing and from 19 August, was again based in France, at Sommervieu, Normandy, under Captain Ozanne. At this period, it specialized in ground attack but aerial combat was still part of the job and in December 1944, the squadron was faced with its first Jet-propelled opposition. In July 1945, fifteen aircraft of the squadron took part in the victory fly-past, celebrating an honourable end to the Second World War.[9]

Post World War II[edit]

In November 1945, the squadron, EC 1/2 Cigognes was re-established as a unit of the French Air Force. In June 1946 it left for French Indochina where it flew the Supermarine Spitfire, with the SPA 3 flight stationed at Saigon and SPA 103 at Hanoi. On its return to Metropolitan France in 1948, it was reequipped with Republic P-47 Thunderbolts.

In 1949, EC 1/2 Cigognes moved to its present base at Dijon-Longvic, at the same time reequipping with De Havilland Vampire jets, followed by the Dassault MD 450 Ouragan, then Dassault Mystère IVAs. It was in this aircraft that the squadron was engaged during the Suez Crisis in 1956. Notably, it became the first unit of the French Air Force to deploy an indigenous Mach-2 fighter, the new Mirage IIIC, on 7 July 1961.[10] In 1968 these were replaced by Mirage IIIE.

In 1984, EC 1/2 Cigognes moved on to the Mirage 2000C. In September 1994, it received a third flight: the SPA 12. At the end of the 1990s, the squadron moved to Mirage 2000-5F.

The squadron has played a role in NATO's response to the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine, providing a pair of Mirage 2000-5F (along with a pair of Mirage 2000C fighters from EC 2/5) which arrived at Poland's 22nd Air Base on 2 June 2014.[11]

Escadrilles[edit]

In 2015, the Escadron 1/2 Cigognes is composed of three escadrille

  • SPA 3 Cigognes, known as Guynemer's
  • SPA 26 Cigognes, known as (dite) Saint-Galmier
  • SPA 103 Cigognes, known as Fonck's

Escadrille SPA 12 Cigognes was attached to the 1/2 Cigognes between September 9 1994 and September 3 2009.

Bases[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ The French word "Chasseur" translates to "Hunter" in English, and while this is a Fighter aircraft, the actual translation is different. The word "Fighter/Combat Aircraft" translates to "Avion de Combat" in the French language.
  2. ^ When referring to a Escadron/Squadron of the French Air Force or any military unit in France, be careful (unless sure), the names after the numbers such as : "2/30 (number) "Normandie-Niemen" (official battle honor designation) actually sometimes designates locations, emblems or not, and mainly for military units referring to Battle honours inscriptions at these locations. Hence, a location would translate in any language to the same, usually, an emblem can be misinterpreted and Battle honours should not be translated. In addition, some of these unit squadrons are heir to others with direct official designations but different number sequences. On another hand, locations, emblems and battle honors can sometimes be misinterpreted and translated to another language (word) with a totally different word. Emblems also sometimes may refer to a region while they also could be wrongly misinterpreted. Therefore, it is better to keep their title designation in the French language (specially in case of military units which most harbor battle honor designations but not necessarily) and translate within the article itself, since some of these designated name designations/emblems/locations/battle honors have history behind them as well, where as a wrongly translated word or not (or composition word) would be incorrect in relation to a mentioned history designation of a Squadron/Escadron. For the reference, the previously stated would be related to Encyclopedic (Wikipedia) inter-languages integrity concepts which has no distinct official citation on a language Encyclopedia (in this case either French or English Wikipedia).
  3. ^ The word "Fighter" (in reference to a Fighter aircraft) in the English language doesn't exist in the French Air Force repertoire; therefore the article was created under the official French designation; however these are Fighter formations.
  4. ^ "Escadron de chasse 01.002 " Cigognes "" (in French). French MoD. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  5. ^ Air Force site.
  6. ^ Law of 29 March 1912. "Military aeronautics is charged with the study, the acquisition or the construction and the putting into a working state, of aerial navigation devices useable by the Army, such as balloons, aeroplanes and kites." This was not strictly, the founding of the French Air Force but it was an effective step in that direction. Accessed 2009-08-30. Archived 2009-09-03.
  7. ^ a b Squadron site
  8. ^ The three emblems may be seen separately at the foot of the squadron’s page in the Air Force site. While the squadron's emblem has all three birds in black and white, the individual emblem of No. 12 Flight is in black and silver. Accessed 2009-08-30. Archived 2009-09-03.
  9. ^ Air Force site. For a fuller coverage of this period, see No. 329 Squadron RAF.
  10. ^ Pierre-Alain Antoine (Sep 2011). "Memories of a Mirage driver". Aircraft: 87. ISSN 2041-2150. 
  11. ^ "France Replaces Rafales with Mirages on Polish Det". Air Forces Monthly: 11. August 2014. 
  12. ^ Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914-1918. p. 89–90; 103–104. 

External links[edit]